6 Tips for Finding Work During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Over the past five years, job seekers used the classic economic principle of supply and demand to control the job market. Companies looking to grow quickly brought the demand to a job market that was relatively low in supply.
Now, the coronavirus pandemic has flipped the script. Demand for workers has dramatically declined, as a new generation of college graduates enters the workforce.
In just two short months after the start of the pandemic, employers eliminated more than 22 million positions, which represents nearly 15% of all jobs. Although companies have restored about half of the more than 22 million positions slashed back in April and May of 2020, an economic forecast put out by Bankrate expects nearly three years to pass before companies restore the other 11 million lost jobs.
Indeed Hiring Lab Economist Ann Elizabeth Konkel said the pandemic has ushered in several unique economic factors. “Something that is really unique to this crisis is that it happened overnight, basically. It’s always been slower than this, rather than going from one of the best labor markets in U.S. history into becoming one of the worst in three weeks.”
Yet, there are things job seekers can do to bolster their credentials during a job search. Let’s review the six tips for finding work during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tip #1: Apply Yourself to Create an Error-Free Application
Employers look for the slightest excuse to delete an online resume and cover letter or toss printed versions into the trash.
Your resume and cover letter should look immaculately free of any errors, whether it is a spelling mistake in the cover letter or a series of punctuation errors in the resume. In addition to simple grammar and spelling mistakes, your resume and cover letter should target the position the company has posted as open. List your prior work experience, and make sure the dates of employment do not have any significant gaps, let’s say, no more than a month.
Tip #2: Be Flexible on Compensation
Labor economist with ZipRecruiter Julia Pollack emphasizes that now is not the time to haggle over pay. Since the weak growth in wages should eventually turn into at least a slow growth in wages, job seekers should follow the mantra of “Patience is a virtue.” It is not just wages that job seekers should be flexible with when considering a job offer. Benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans remain a vital part of the compensation packages offered by employers.
“When people get back into the game faster, when they apply for jobs and monitor the job market, that can actually speed up a recovery rather than people staying on the sidelines and holding out for something they imagined that doesn’t exist anymore,” Pollak said.
Tips #3: Network Like a Champ
Some companies do not advertise job openings by posting on sites such as Indeed and Snagajob. Because of this, job seekers should do some old school networking by reaching out to friends, family members and former professional peers. Yes, LinkedIn remains the dominant professional networking site, but until COVID-19 wanes, you should network with the people that you frequently interact with at home, as well as at community events and neighborhood socials. Word-of-mouth has proven to be a powerful tool for finding new employment, Konkel states.
Tip #4: Acquire New Skills
The pandemic has given most of us plenty of spare time. Unfortunately, the spare time the virus has given us has not for the most part been used wisely. Instead of binge-watching your favorite television show or visiting every social media site known to exist, put the extra time you have to good use by developing more professional skills. For example, now is the perfect time to get certified in one or more of a wide variety of computer programs. You can also complete an online course that is relevant to your career, as well as improve your communication skills by completing a business writing class.
Glassdoor career specialist, Alison Sullivan, has some sage advice when it comes to acquiring new skills and improving the skills you currently have developed. “If you’ve been a manager at a restaurant, turn and look at the skills that you had as a manager, and ask, ‘What could you apply to being a supermarket manager?’ Identifying those skills that you can transfer to other industries is a really big way that you can help find opportunities out there for you.”
Tip #5: Keep an Open Mind
The restaurant management skillset Alison Sullivan referred to brings us to our fifth tip: Keep an open mind. You might receive a job offer for a position that is outside of your preferred career choice. However, what the pandemic took away in jobs, the pandemic has given back with the creation of new types of jobs. You can also leverage the professional skills you have already developed by doing freelance work until the worst of the crisis moves on.
“The job search right now requires thinking outside of the box and also being open to an opportunity that isn’t your dream job,” Konkel says. “I would encourage job seekers to take opportunities as they come right now.”
Tip #6: The More, the Merrier
Remember the Golden Rule for job hunting before the pandemic: Be selective when applying for open positions. The pandemic has changed the Golden Rule to apply to as many open positions as you want. First, job seekers cannot be as selective because of the dwindling number of open jobs. Second, you might connect with an employer that does not want to hire you for an advertised open position, but instead, suggests you apply for another position the employer has not yet advertised.
“Even when there is a competitive labor market, there are some people who still strike it lucky,” Pollak says. “If you’re applying and monitoring every day, chances are you will get a job and a good job. This is really a time to understand that the job market is really competitive and to be the best competitor you can.”
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